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Cronin’s Corner

The Blending of Theatre, Business & Lifecronin

1.     The Experience Economy

In their book “The Experience Economy” authors Joseph Pine and William Gilmore refer to people making buying decisions based upon their personal experience as opposed to say the Features & Benefits of products and services.

For example they relate a coffee bean to first being a commodity that grows in say Columbia or Brazil. then they relate to buying the processed coffee bean in a supermarket and bringing it home to brew as a good. Next they relate to purchasing a brewed cup of coffee in a Dunkin Donuts, 7-11 or convenience store as a service. Finally, they relate to my son Michael purchasing his coffee at a Starbucks as an experience. Starbucks is cool: dark wood, Wi-Fi, comfortable living room-like seats and drink sizes like grande etc. Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks preaches to his employees “We are not in the coffee business serving people; we are in the people business serving coffee.”

Finally, Starbucks invests more money in training their people than in marketing their products and services and all of their stores are company owned as opposed to franchising.

The authors also talk about a Rainforest Café as providing OK Food but people going

there for the rainforest experience.

2.     Disney World

Disney World is not in theme-park business, or even the entertainment business; it is in show business

Employees are called cast members, and they refer to being at work as “being on stage.” The Personnel Department is called the “Casting Center.” Cast Members do not wear uniforms—they wear costumes, and they are not allowed to go onstage unless they are “totally in character “!

Attendees at Disney World are not called customers or clients; they are called guests.

Disney World has a staff of 42,000 of whom 80% come in direct contact with their guests.

Like Starbucks Disney World employees receive several days of intensive training so that every character knows what he/she is doing is “PUTTING ON A SHOW. “ Even the cleaning people know that they are onstage and Disney Research shows that people with brooms are five times more likely to be asked questions than people in Information Booths and those designated to answer questions and they are trained to perform that role. For example if a guest asks a Street Sweeper “Excuse me, how do I get to Animal Kingdom?” The sweeper responds “see that small line forming over there at sign # 2. The Animal Kingdom Bus boards guests every 10-12 minutes. The next bus is in 8 minutes. There are 2 stops and the ride is 12 minutes and Animal Kingdom is open until 9 PM.” Cast members are trained to speak in the positive as in The park is open until 9 PM. NEVER the park closes at 9 PM.

Mike Vance, the former president of Walt Disney University, tells the following story about his legendary boss, Walt Disney. A Disneyland Park attendant once spotted Mr. Disney down on his hands and knees. The attendant ran to his boss and said, “Oh, Mr. Disney, are you okay? Let me help you up!” Disney got up under his own power and dusted the knees of his pants. “Son, I’m fine”, he said. “I’m just looking at my product from the perspective of my customer!”

Some Walt Disney beliefs and quotes are as follows:

“If you can dream it you can do it. Always remember that the whole thing started with a mouse.”

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing new things, our curiosity keeps taking us down new paths.”

“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”


Alex Brennan-Martin of the Brennan family who founded the famous Brennan’s restaurant in New Orleans and Houston and the Commanders Palace in Las Vegas in his co-authored book “The Simple Truth” speaks about memories.

In his book he writes about one of his managers telling him “The Waldrops kept talking about all the memories they have and about all their great nights at Brennan’s of Houston.’

Thereafter Alex continued to ask customers how they saw the experience Brennan’s delivered. “They all spoke of our service, food specialties we are known for, as well as our ambience and food reputation. But in addition, they all expressed the same sentiment, they wanted the occasion to be memorable.

After opening Commanders Palace in Las Vegas Alex held a staff meeting and told his team “Gang, we’re all about memories, not food. Their eyes lit up and smiles crossed their faces. The group picked up where I left off and began discussing the concept of memories. They had each heard similar terms from the customers but no one had put it as simply as I had. ‘I agree we’re about customer memories’, said one of the managers. ‘but I think we should be about great customer memories. We want to be a great restaurant and a great place to work, so we need to create great memories to achieve our goals.’

The Mission then became “Creating Great Customer Memories.”

4.     Hotels of Distinction

Hotelier, Alan Tremain, in his book “Without Reservations” (Peppertree Press) details how he rose from the kitchen to beverage manager to assistant manager to manager of the Copley Plaza in Boston (now Fairmont Copley Plaza) to owner of the Chesterfield Hotel in Palm Beach (one of my favorite “thirst Parlors”) to the founder of Hotels of Distinction. An Englishman, his career spanned several continents from New Delhi to Hong Kong and Auckland, New Zealand, Australia to Canada where he managed the Empress hotel in Victoria by the time he was 30.

He said “There’s a theatrical component to a good hotel/restaurant – running one is like producing a play. The lobby and the public rooms are the stage sets and the staff are the actors. Most hotel people have a touch of the theatre—the flash of the napkin as it’s laid in your lap, for instance.”

Bernie Cronin is a nationally prominent sales and sales management consultant, trainer and speaker. He is the Managing Director of the Bernie Cronin International at 1000 West McNab Road in Pompano Beach, Florida. His cell phone number is (954) 295-9202. His website is and email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .